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Post-doctoral position beamline DISCO : Project PERP B-BEST FillingGaps

SOLEIL is the french synchrotron radiation center, located on Saclay near Paris. It is a multidisciplinary instrument and research laboratory, whose mission is to conduct research programs using synchrotron radiation, to develop state-of-the-art instrumentation on beamlines and to make these available to the scientific community. The SOLEIL synchrotron, a unique tool for both academic research and industrial applications, opened in 2008. It is used every year by several thousand researchers from France and abroad, across a wide range of disciplines including physics, biology, chemistry, astrophysics, environment, and earth sciences. SOLEIL relies on a source of radiation that is remarkable in terms of both brilliance and stability. This Large Research Infrastructure, a partner of Université Paris-Saclay, is a "civil" company jointly founded by CNRS and CEA.

The national research program, or PEPR, B-Best - for Biomass, biotechnologies, technologies for green chemistry and renewable energies - is being developed from 2023 to 2029 as part of the government's France 2030 investment program. With a budget of 70 million euros, it is co-directed by IFPEN and INRAE. Its aim is to bring together the scientific community to lay the foundations for the technical, organizational, and social innovations that will enable us to both understand and activate the levers for efficient biomass processing to produce biobased products and sustainable fuels.

5 axes of research have been identified within the framework of this program.

Axis 1, entitled "Characterizing the chemical and physical structure of biomass", presents a targeted project: FillighGaps.

The aim of this targeted project is to develop multi-scale approaches, for representative biomass species, in order to establish relationships between scales with a view to highlighting markers of biomass properties and reactivity. This requires the application and development of high-level characterization tools that will provide information at complementary scales.



The main hypothesis of the FillingGaps project is that biomass structural markers, insufficiently studied, could be key elements in understanding the behavior of biomass during its transformation. Thus, the aim of this targeted project is to develop multi-scale approaches, for representative biomass species, in order to establish relationships between scales with the aim of highlighting markers of biomass properties and reactivity. This will require the application and development of high-level characterization tools that will provide information at complementary scales. The proposed strategy will also lead to the development of new methods for coupling scales and integrating information, ultimately to propose virtual models of biomass reactivity.

The SOLEIL synchrotron is by nature a multimodal platform, offering very high spatial resolution, photon flux and sensitivity. The SOLEIL synchrotron enables a wide range of experiments, from materials science to structural biology. Because of SOLEIL's unique nature, scientists have access to state-of-the-art instrumentation combined with dedicated sample preparation and handling systems, as well as sophisticated analysis software. The DISCO beamline provides ultraviolet synchrotron illumination, enabling, among other things, the autofluorescence of proteins. Indeed, after excitation at 275 nm, enzymes are visible thanks to the autofluorescence of tryptophan and tyrosine, and phenolic compounds in lignocellulosic plants make cell walls visible at 380 nm, providing morphological information.

Hence, autofluorescence imaging has proved to be an attractive method for label-free, multimodal in situ exploration of local and temporal variations during cell wall hydrolysis. The visualization of enzymes and the monitoring of the evolution of the complex biopolymer network by temporal imaging reflect the actual degradation behavior of enzymes and cell walls. This method paves the way for the comparison of enzymes with specific activities, different sources of lignocellulosic biomass and pretreatments envisaged to overcome recalcitrance to degradation.

The post-doctoral fellow will accompany the various members of the project on the beamlines of the SOLEIL synchrotron (in particular the DISCO beamline) and take part in data processing. The candidate will be responsible for developing sample environments dedicated to these studies, participating in synchrotron acquisitions and data processing.

The following results are expected from the fillingGaps project:

  • Standardized protocols for carrying out a multiscale/multimodal imaging experiment.
  • Advanced processing workflows adapted to large sets of multiscale/multimodal images.
  • Better understanding of biomass structure and spatial-chemical organization
  • Predictive markers of biomass properties and standard reactivity.

II. Experience required

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with a PhD in Physics, Chemistry or Biology.

The post-doctoral fellow will join a multi-disciplinary, passionate and fast-growing team, benefiting from multiple partnerships.

We are looking for someone who is curious.

    • Knowledge of microscopy, sample preparation methods and associated data analysis and processing;
    •  Experience in processing multidimensional scientific data;
    • Basic knowledge of a programming language.
    • Knowledge of synchrotron radiation properties;
    • Knowledge of biomass.
    • Gestion de temps;
    • Bonnes compétences de communication, avec d’autres groupes de SOLEIL ainsi que des partenaires du PEPR.


    • Basic knowledge of beamline instrumentation (one or more of vacuum, control and acquisition electronics, control and acquisition computing, detection, cryogenics, robotics, etc.).

    III. General condition

    This offer corresponds to a 36-month postdoc contract.

    Remuneration will be based on the current salary scale